Urban Deities and Devas

Urban Deities and Devas
Most Pagans who worship/appreciate the Devine in pantheistic or particular form seem unaware that the energies behind them develop and take on new forms as humans and civilisations have developed. The same occurs for Devas – entities that work with, and organise, nature spirits. Divas are associated with the Hindu pantheon, and occupy the niche which angels do in the Christian worldview. These beings are best known for working with plants, animals, and natural forces, but have adapted to urban areas as they were created. Devas come in all sizes from those connected to machines such as computers and cars, through to those that organise whole cities.

The same is true of Gods and Goddesses who create new forms (avatars) for themselves in this urban environment, as well as new Deities that arise in these surroundings. These forms are shaped by the images of the culture, time, and place, becoming nexuses of energies that can be tapped into for magick and ritual. This is one of the roots of the development of the style of system of Magick known as “Chaos Magick” which regards these nodes of magickal energy as sources of power that can be tapped by attuning to it in the appropriate manner.

In addition to the Gods and Devas of the city, Urban Shamans also work with Deities found in the urban culture. The most common example of this are the archetypes found in comic books and films. In the article on Protection magick I explained how I had used two “Superhero” comic book characters as protectors for our cat in his pen.

“Then I filled the two Superhero bottles with vodka and the Japanese one with single malt, sealed the tops of all the bottles with epoxy putty, and placed them on a mirror tile between two other mirrors facing each other. 

They were also surrounded by nine red charged candles that would empower the bottles as they burnt down. The aim being that the infinite reflections of the candles, and the energy they released, would be multiplied and focussed on the containers laser-like making them fully-fledged spell bottles. This in itself makes them powerful amulets but the symbolism of the bottles enabled me to invoke the essence of the characters they were shaped after and attach it to the appropriate bottle. With the rise in the number of spiders in our back garden, and bats being spotted in the front one I think the empowerment has been successful.”

In this example you can see the combination of traditional methods with modern images and materials, which is the essence of Urban Shamanism. The key to making this work is to understand the principles behind the energies you are invoking. Electricity is still electricity whether it is flowing through wires, or charged particles in the air in the form of lightning bolts. So invocations to Thor or Jove will still work on electrical devices to balance or increase their power. Elemental magick also works well provided you keep correspondences in mind. I speak from experience in the latter case as I was at a Solstice festival back in the ‘90s when one of the participant’s cars refused to start. Some of the Pagans at the event decided to help out with a quick Martian ritual as Mars ‘rules’ machines. What they forgot was that Martian energy is strongly connected with electrical systems and, instead of starting the engine, the invoked energy caused a big enough power surge to start an electrical fire in the engine bay. That the cause of the fire was the ritual was suggested by the puzzlement of the mechanic who arrived in his van to collect the car and checked the engine to see if he could start it and save the owner the cost of a tow. “That section of the engine shouldn’t have caught fire like that” was his comment “There shouldn’t have been enough current going through those wires for them to overheat”

As with traditional Shamanism the connection between Shaman and Urban Deity or Deva is two way. Sometimes Urban Shamans have been contacted by these beings without their directly invoking them, usually because they have been unconsciously working with an aspect of an area of influence covered by that Being. Sometimes the entity concerned has been called into being by the person doing a particular action, or paying attention to a certain item or area. These can cause a buildup of Psionic energy which can develop or be programmed into an entity with defined abilities and a potential personality. This sort of energy is what gives a place or building its ‘feel’ and is particularly perceptible when the structure is empty. I once worked for a security firm and can tell you that the ‘feel’ of a building was very different when occupied as opposed to when people were in it.

Another urban energy associated with structures is ghosts. There are some well-known countryside hauntings in every nation, but most ghost sightings occur in urban areas, palaces and castles fall into this category as they were usually mini cities in their own right. My favourite account of someone working with a ghost happened in my home town of Portsmouth. There is an 18th Century hotel by the Dockyard called the Keppel's Head, which is reputed to be haunted by a number of ghosts including Buster Crabb a Royal Naval frogman who vanished while attempting to spy on a Russian warship during the Cold War. The night manager used to frequent Broomsticks, the Pagan shop I helped out at, and told us of the ghost that he could sense when he did his regular security patrols. Over time he developed a relationship with it to the point where they would meet up, patrol a floor each, cross over, and cover the floor the other had just done, and then meet up again. The night manager used to swear that he could communicate with the ghost and he believed it took its job very seriously. To the extent that if trouble occurred then the troublemaker(s) would be better off if he found them first rather than his spectral assistant!

Working with the energies and entities found in the urban environment can greatly enhance practicing your Pagan Path, especially for Urban Pagans. It enables Pagans who live in city or town to develop a relationship with their immediate surroundings, rather than thinking that they have to travel into the countryside when they want to commune with Deities and experience a wider view of reality. For people who travel a lot it also means that they can work in an urban environment as comfortably as a rural one, and not feel that they are cut off from Deities and natural energies.

You Should Also Read:
Amulets and Talismans
Chaos Magick
Making a wand out of items found in the city

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